Saturday, July 2, 2016

Reason No. 40 to hike: Boosted immunity

If you want to avoid getting a cold or the flu, always be sure to wash your hands and go hiking.

Several studies now indicate that spending time in nature, especially an area with trees, boosts the immune system, helping to fight off infections, colds and flus. According to Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School researchers, just 2-4 hours in the woods spread over two consecutive days increases by 50 percent production of white blood cells, which battle viruses that cause illnesses.

Even better, that boost lasted more than a week after leaving the woods.

The Japanese have long known about this form of natural aromatherapy, nicknaming it "forest bathing." The research, however, empirically confirms the benefits of a brief, leisurely visit to a forest.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.